Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas 2012 - It's about family...

Christmas 2012 has come and gone - hopefully your Christmas was a time to spend with loved ones and to make memories. For me, it is all about family. The older we get the less it is about the gifts and glitter and it becomes more and more about honoring Jesus and spending time with family. As we all know family gatherings can be stressful and sometimes the best in people becomes obvious and other times the other side can show. Both is okay and we must learn to accept the fact that not everyone will be smiling all the time. When we read stories in the Bible, we see the good told as well as the bad. That's how it goes.
So what was my Christmas like? I want to jot down a bit about my family get togethers as a reminder of the Christmas of 2012.

Saturday, December 22 - Family Gathering A
It's a cold day. Arrival time at Dad and Mom's is 3pm.
There are 28 people in the family. One couple ( who live out of province ) with their 2 children have not been able to make it out so there are 24 people here in total. Dad and Mom, 4 married couples, 12 grandchildren, I grandson in law, and one baby great-grandchild.
The day begins with a time of singing Christmas carols and sharing Christmas readings. Sister D plays the piano as we sing. Each person is expected to bring a reading to share. We take turns. One young boy is having a stubborn spell and refuses to come while his little brother shares some Christmas jokes. The dad gives his son a talk, he comes but keeps his face turned to the wall unwilling to participate. My mind goes back to the days when my boys were young and the stress that came with keeping everyone cheerful. We continue singing and sharing. One person shares about the shootings in Newtown saying that he believes God will not allow people to push Him out of the schools etc ( I am not sure I agree ), another family shares Advent readings and light the advent candles. Others share about how Mary would have felt carrying the Son of God in her womb, another shares how Jesus is better than Santa. It's Dad's turn now. The little boy who happily told Christmas jokes earlier has fallen asleep - snores... these sharing times take a long time! Dad begins to tell stories from the olden days. Very tearful and emotional as he shares about his former dogs. Not sure where he is going with his stories....Ah now I understand - he is connecting it to the discipline of the Lord in our lives. He ends with an emotional prayer - his heart is in the right place. God bless him.

Time to prepare supper now. The men and younger generation visit, the children play and watch a movie. The ladies work in the kitchen and set the table. We've all brought stuff for the meal. Sister K has brought a couple of salads. Sister D brought the juice and cranberrry sauce. I brought the dinner rolls and a lettuce salad. Sister C brought the desserts - Lemon pie and a pan of chocolate brownies. Mom is getting older - she is 75 but still does more than her share of the work with the mashed potatoes and turkey and vegetables. We all sit down to a delicious supper and good fellowship.
 Now its time to clean up supper and then will be the time to open the gifts. The little children look forward to the gifts. We do the dishes. Sister D and I always do the dishes together at family gatherings. I wash and she dries. We have good conversations while we do dishes. We have a lot in common. Her children are similar age as mine. Her daughter has a boyfriend now, my son has a girlfriend. We agree we are new at this stage of life.
Time for gifts now. We go downstairs. The tree is in the corner - the gifts are under the tree. Everyone is handed a gift from Dad and Mom but we must all wait our turn to open. Thanks and hugs for all the nice gifts.
We play a gift exchange game. Sister C is in charge. Everyone has brought a $3 gift. It's sort of fun. The gifts in the gift exchange game include chips, and cards, and a flashlight, some mousetraps, chai tea, pliers, shop towels, chocolate, cookies etc. There is quite a variety of gifts. Sister C is good at organizing a game with all these gifts.
Dad brings out a box of Christmas oranges. Time for some snacks, some popcorn and soft drinks and we all head home. It's been a great day with family!

December 25, 2012 - Christmas at Home
It's another cold cold day but that's OK - we are all home - my husband and I, our twin sons, our third son and our daughter. School ended on Friday and our twin boys have been home from college for a few days already as well. We sleep in on Christmas Day this year. Sleep is good. We are going to keep things simple this year. Christmas is about remembering Jesus birth and spending time with family. Family is precious.
We have a quick breakfast and then begin opening gifts. The boys got things they need - one son needed a GPS for his truck and an electric kettle, another son needed a thermarest mattress for camping, a kettle as well, a toolbelt and a hammer, our third son needed a trailer tow hitch package for his truck and a brake controller, and our daughter enjoys Veggie Tales so her DVDs are her favorite gifts. We weren't able to get the ipad we wanted for her so that will have to wait.
We gather together in our sitting room to listen to a Christmas sermon by Robert Jeffress - a good message discussing Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
We are keeping it simple this year so I make a simple Christmas lunch. A Noodle and Cheese casserole, some baked pork, a green salad. For dessert I made a Lemon Cake and bought some raspberry cheesecake ice-cream. We sit down together to a simple but delightful Christmas lunch.
After lunch we all cozy up together in front of the TV to watch one of our daughter's new Veggie Tales movies. She loves to have her entire family watch it with her. She is very happy!
Time for some outdoor fun in the cold. Yep - snowmobiling even though it's very cold. We dress warmly for some outdoor fun!

December 26, 2012 - Family Gathering B
It is another really cold day - but hey at least the sun is shining and its not storming out there. We have an hour drive ahead of us to get to our family get together today. We leave home at around 10:30 am so we will arrive in time for Christmas dinner!
Everyone is home for Christmas here. Dad passed away in 2004 and we miss him still. Mom is happy to see us all. She is 85 years old now and has just had a bad cold with the cough still hanging on. There are six girls in our family, four sons-in-law and 12 grandchildren. My nephew from Ottawa has made it home for Christmas - we are blessed to all be together!
All of us girls chip in and get dinner on the table. Sister A and her husband carve the turkey - it's their job every year! Sister E mashes the potatoes while I stir the gravy and sister M works at the stuffing. Sister S and sister MH do the planning and organizing for family get togethers as they and Mom live together.
Dinner is downstairs. The tables are set and we all share in a delicious meal - mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, turkey,cranberry sauce, corn, lettuce salad, and some lemon and chocolate pie for dessert.
Time to get the dishes cleaned up. I wash the dishes while sister E dries. Everyone does their part to help clean up.
Next is singing time and then we will read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke. We all sit together in a large circle. We sing some Christmas carols. No music this time - usually my niece plays the organ but this time she doesn't - not sure why she doesn't feel like playing today.  We read about the birth of Jesus from Luke - Mom starts with the first verse and  everyone reads one verse as it becomes their turn. It's great to do this as a family!
Time for the gifts. Mom's first gift to everyone is socks... everyone is happy because we all need new socks. We can depend on her to give socks for Christmas and birthdays!! More gifts - she has tool sets for her sons-in-law and a chime clock for each of us girls. She has more for the grandchildren also - the boys get some tools while the girls each get a large mirror. More gifts.... Paper everywhere... clean up.
Sister S makes some coffee - fair trade variety- it is sooo good - more of a treat for me than the chocolate and sweets that are available! Mom gets out the Christmas oranges.

Now is time for visiting - catching up on the news from each household. Kids in college - aviation training, aroespace engineering, business, pastoral training, mechanics training, some are dating, others are preparing to get their driver's license, others graduating in June... so much going on.
We end the day with another lunch we call Faspa - it is buns, cold sliced meat, jam and cheese etc. Desserts - blueberry square and jellyrolls. So much good food and fellowship.
It's been a good day and we're all tired. We pack up, hugs and well wishes for everyone. It's been a great Christmas once again!!


  1. You really had a lovely Christmas.

    Our Christmas was a quiet and modest one.
    We changed our plans because we got a nasty virus that took the energies. No wonder I was so tired before the fever & runny nose!
    We are not yet free of the virus. We are taking it easy this New Year's Eve, as always.

    I wish you and your family a happy and blessed year 2013!

    1. @Varpunen - I am so sorry to hear that you have not been well. I hope and pray you will be well soon!
      There are many viruses around and very hard to beat. I don't know if it helps but I take Vitamin D3 with hope that it will boost my immune system.

      May God Bless you and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

    2. We are doing much better now. Thank you for your prayers!
      Yes, there are lots of viruses around.
      We also take vitamin D3, - and other vitamins, too.

      God bless your year 2013!

    3. @ Varpunen - It's great to hear that you're feeling better!

      So many people sick this winter with that horrible flu
      that we have around here. Now the children are back in school - hopefully that won't make the viruses spread even more.

      All the best to you and yours in 2013 - God bless!